Visas for Ukraine refugees stuck in Calais will be processed in Lille - 70 miles away 3 months ago

Visas for Ukraine refugees stuck in Calais will be processed in Lille - 70 miles away

The foreign secretary accidentally let slip the new processing location

Liz Truss has said a new pop-up visa centre will be set up for desperate Ukrainian refugees in Lille, 70 miles away from their current location in Calais.


Answering questions in the House of Commons, the foreign secretary said the home office would shortly open the new processing unit - inconveniently located two hours away from the northern French port.

On Sunday, France accused Britain of "lacking humanity" or not doing more to help Ukrainians in Calais reunite with their families in the UK.

The accusation came after 150 Ukrainians were turned away at Calais, refused entry to the UK and told to acquire their visa at the UK's consulates either in Paris or Brussels, The Independent reported.


Currently, asylum seekers are being sent to back to Paris to have their visas signed off - the only UK processing centre in France.

Refugees arriving at one centre yesterday were met with the message: "No visas delivered in Calais."


The new centre in Lille might explain confusion generated by the home secretary on Monday, who claimed a new centre would be set up "on the way" to Calais.

Priti Patel told MPs: "We are supporting those who have been coming to Calais. It is also important that we do not create choke points in Calais but encourage a smooth flow of people.

"In particular, I confirm that we have set up a bespoke VAC en route to Calais but away from the port because we have to prevent that surge from taking place."

The United Nations today announced that two million people have fled Ukraine in the past two weeks.


As of last night, the UK had only granted 300 family visas for Ukrainians hoping to find safety in the UK.

Related links: